Port congestion blamed for import decline in June
MANILA, Philippines – The country's imports fell for the second straight month in June due in part to the congestion at Manila ports, the government said Tuesday, August 26.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed imports fell 3.6% in June to $4.715 billion from P4.889 billion in the same month of 2013. In May, imports fell 4%.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a statement that lower shipments of capital goods pulled down imports and offset gains in other items.
The PSA said 3 out of top 10 commodities imported in June posted declines. These were industrial machinery and equipment, electronic products, and "other food and live animals."
"The decline in the country's imports of capital goods is a concern that needs to be addressed," said NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan.
"In part, the problem of port congestion in Manila may be a contributing factor and should be expeditiously resolved. Logistical issues result in additional cost for both producers and consumers, especially for raw materials and capital goods intended for production as well as food and other non-durable items for consumption," he added.
Imports of electronic products, which accounted for an 18.1% share, reached $1.097 billion, down 22% from $1.097 billion in June 2013.
Industrial machinery and equipment amounted to $211.97 million, down 32.9% from last year. These accounted for 4.5% of the total import bill.
Items under the group "other food and live animals" contributed 3.3% of the import bill, at $156.23 million, down 3.3%.
On the other hand, shipments of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials – the top import group with a 24.% share – was valued at $1.167 billion, up 9.4% from last year's $1.066 billion.
The government expects imports to grow 9% in 2014, rising to 10% next year and 12% in 2016.
"Efforts should be firmed up to encourage businesses to invest more in capital goods. These are crucial in increasing the global competitiveness of domestic firms," noted Balisacan.
The government expects exports to rise 6% this year, 8% next year and 10% in 2016. – Rappler.com